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USA 1947
Directed by
John Cromwell
100 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Dead Reckoning

The most appealing aspect of this crime thriller is the pairing of Bogart with Lizabeth Scott who bears a striking resemblance to Lauren Bacall with whom Bogart famously starred three years previously in To Have And Have Not. Scott is a marvellous screen presence who made a string of films between 1945 and 1955 but then faded from view. In a role originally intended for Rita Hayworth she is ravishing here as Coral Chandler, the femme fatale who makes a sap out of wise-guy Bogart as Rip Murdock, an army Captain trying to uncover the truth about an war-time buddy who has mysteriously disappeared.

Based on a story by Gerald Drayson Adams and Sidney Biddell, the script is a cocktail of elements seen in many 40s noir films: flat-footed cops and sleaze-ball gangsters, cold-blooded murder and hot-blooded romance served with lashings of hard-boiled dialogue and a large slice of voice-over as in flashback Rip tells his story. The film has some B grade elements, particularly the final confrontation between Rip and the bad guys, which is about as clumsy as it gets, and Scott’s musical number is so obviously mimed as to be almost embarrassing but the presence of Bogart and Scott make the film well worth checking out.

 

 

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